Now that the sunken 167-foot Helena Star vessel has been raised from the bottom of Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway patched, and towed to Seattle, where it is being scrapped and recycled, state officials will continue pursuit of its last owner for the estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars in cleanup costs.
The Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges against Stephen C. Mason and Mason Marine Services Inc. in January alleging one count each of vessel abandonment and pollution discharge into state waters.
The coordinated response team was comprised of the state Departments of Natural Resources and Ecology, US Coast Guard, Tacoma Fire Department and Global Diving and Salvage Inc. Escorted by the 62-foot landing craft Prudhoe Bay, a tug towed the derelict vessel out of the Hylebos Waterway, up Puget Sound and through the Ballard Locks into Lake Union to the Stabbert Yacht and Ship drydock for scrapping.
The dollars recovered by Stabbert for the scrap steel — though not nearly enough to pay for the anticipated $2 million salvage and cleanup process — will go back to the state Derelict Vessel Removal Program managed by DNR.